- TABLE OF CONTENTS
- WAR ROOM -
STUDY - MORAL
ISSUES - KING
JAMES BIBLE - CULTS
"It is tiring and unhealthy to lose your Saturday afternoons: but to have them free because you donít matter, that is much worse."
So, why ARE you giving your Saturdays, indeed your whole life, to impressing someone, only because you want to be included in the "INNER RING"?
What is a Bible believer doing climbing when he is called by the Master to "GO"? All of life is run by, and is dominated by, people obsessed with going up one more ring into the glory of some small group of influential people, and this is due to the misguided notion that up yonder, one more ring up, I shall find myself amongst the ruling people. It never happens, and it is not worth living for. AND, Jesus Christ hated it.
This is a long series of articles, but so is life. And, you cannot possibly have avoided the pressure of the "Inner Ring." It is a deadly force, and the fact that Jesus had to deal with it, seemingly daily, calls us to examine our lives and how we respond to this perverse social device.
If you have no stomach for satire from real life stories, you need to click out of here at once. In this article I go way beyond my usual satirical editorial.
All of the stories used in these articles are true. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent.
The Lord shall have them in derision, and so shall I.
invite you to examine the group above. For the life of me I cannot tell
who is lord of the Ring, that is, top dog. Can you figure out who
owns the law firm? I vote for the guy sitting down on the left.
Then again, if the top man is uncommonly restrained,
it may be the third man from the left standing.
But, the matron center right is wearing no
white and no red. That is self-confidence
if I ever saw it. Maybe she is top madam.
CHAPTER ONE: See below on this page
Speech to a university gathering in the UK which was given by CS Lewis.
CHAPTER TWO: See below on this page
Inner Rings- a tribute to the fall of man
Please read the chapters in order to get the big picture.
Link to the next chapter is at the bottom of this page.
The Tools of Climbing
Famous Mavericks who avoided or abandoned the Inner Ring
Inner Rings as they are found in Everyday of Life
Tiger Slaying- Short Cut to the Inner Ring
The Bible on Rings of Power and Climbing
Where are you closer to God?
Also, How to Dismantle an Inner Ring
C.S. Lewis comes in for some fierce criticism elsewhere in this journal for his heretical Bible interpretation and fiction writing, but I find this lecture by him useful and provocative. It is in the context of worldly life experience, and in that regard Lewis is an expert.
Please read all of this. It is really the foundation of the secular side of this discussion. Virtually all of the Inner Rings in Christendom are carbon copies of some ancient secular climbing club. After you read this lecture, I shall assume you read it and not repeat many of the thoughts in my analysis of the biblical view of the Inner Ring world in which we in Christendom live.
The Inner Ring
By C. S. Lewis*
May I read you a few lines from Tolstoy's War and Peace?
When Boris entered the room, Prince Andrey was listening to an old general, wearing his decorations, who was reporting something to Prince Andrey, with an expression of soldierly servility on his purple face. "Alright. Please wait!" he said to the general, speaking in Russian with the French accent which he used when he spoke with contempt. The moment he noticed Boris he stopped listening to the general who trotted imploringly after him and begged to be heard, while Prince Andrey turned to Boris with a cheerful smile and a nod of the head. Boris now clearly understoodwhat he had already guessedthat side by side with the system of discipline and subordination which were laid down in the Army Regulations, there existed a different and more real systemthe system which compelled a tightly laced general with a purple face to wait respectfully for his turn while a mere captain like Prince Andrey chatted with a mere second lieutenant like Boris. Boris decided at once that he would be guided not by the official system but by this other unwritten system.
When you invite a middle-aged moralist to address you, I suppose I must conclude, however unlikely the conclusion seems, that you have a taste for middle-aged moralising. I shall do my best to gratify it. I shall in fact, give you advice about the world in which you are going to live. I do not mean by this that I am going to talk on what are called current affairs. You probably know quite as much about them as I do. I am not going to tell youexcept in a form so general that you will hardly recognise itwhat part you ought to play in post-war reconstruction.
It is not, in fact, very likely that any of you will be able, in the next ten years, to make any direct contribution to the peace or prosperity of Europe. You will be busy finding jobs, getting married, acquiring facts. I am going to do something more old-fashioned than you perhaps expected. I am going to give advice. I am going to issue warnings. Advice and warnings about things which are so perennial that no one calls them "current affairs";
And of course everyone knows what a middle-aged moralist of my type warns his juniors against. He warns them against the World, the Flesh, and the Devil. But one of this trio will be enough to deal with today. The Devil, I shall leave strictly alone. The association between him and me in the public mind has already gone quite as deep as I wish: in some quarters it has already reached the level of confusion, if not of identification. I begin to realise the truth of the old proverb that he who sups with that formidable host needs a long spoon. As for the Flesh, you must be very abnormal young people if you do not know quite as much about it as I do. But on the World I think I have something to say.
In the passage I have just read from Tolstoy, the young second lieutenant Boris Dubretskoi discovers that there exist in the army two different systems or hierarchies. The one is printed in some little red book and anyone can easily read it up. It also remains constant. A general is always superior to a colonel, and a colonel to a captain. The other is not printed anywhere. Nor is it even a formally organised secret society with officers and rules which you would be told after you had been admitted. You are never formally and explicitly admitted by anyone. You discover gradually, in almost indefinable ways, that it exists and that you are outside it; and then later, perhaps, that you are inside it.
There are what correspond to passwords, but they are too spontaneous and informal. A particular slang, the use of particular nicknames, an allusive manner of conversation, are the marks. But it is not so constant. It is not easy, even at a given moment, to say who is inside and who is outside. Some people are obviously in and some are obviously out, but there are always several on the borderline. And if you come back to the same Divisional Headquarters, or Brigade Headquarters, or the same regiment or even the same company, after six weeks' absence, you may find this secondary hierarchy quite altered.
There are no formal admissions or expulsions. People think they are in it after they have in fact been pushed out of it, or before they have been allowed in: this provides great amusement for those who are really inside. It has no fixed name. The only certain rule is that the insiders and outsiders call it by different names. From inside it may be designated, in simple cases, by mere enumeration: it may be called "You and Tony and me." When it is very secure and comparatively stable in membership it calls itself "we." When it has to be expanded to meet a particular emergency it calls itself "all the sensible people at this place." From outside, if you have dispaired of getting into it, you call it "That gang" or "they" or "So-and-so and his set" or "The Caucus" or "The Inner Ring." If you are a candidate for admission you probably don't call it anything. To discuss it with the other outsiders would make you feel outside yourself. And to mention talking to the man who is inside, and who may help you if this present conversation goes well, would be madness.
Badly as I may have described it, I hope you will all have recognised the thing I am describing. Not, of course, that you have been in the Russian Army, or perhaps in any army. But you have met the phenomenon of an Inner Ring. You discovered one in your house at school before the end of the first term. And when you had climbed up to somewhere near it by the end of your second year, perhaps you discovered that within the ring there was a Ring yet more inner, which in its turn was the fringe of the great school Ring to which the house Rings were only satellites. It is even possible that the school ring was almost in touch with a Masters' Ring. You were beginning, in fact, to pierce through the skins of an onion. And here, too, at your Universityshall I be wrong in assuming that at this very moment, invisible to me, there are several ringsindependent systems or concentric ringspresent in this room? And I can assure you that in whatever hospital, inn of court, diocese, school, business, or college you arrive after going down, you will find the Ringswhat Tolstoy calls the second or unwritten systems.
All this is rather obvious. I wonder whether you will say the same of my next step, which is this. I believe that in all men's lives at certain periods, and in many men's lives at all periods between infancy and extreme old age, one of the most dominant elements is the desire to be inside the local Ring and the terror of being left outside. This desire, in one of its forms, has indeed had ample justice done to it in literature. I mean, in the form of snobbery. Victorian fiction is full of characters who are hag-ridden by the desire to get inside that particular Ring which is, or was, called Society. But it must be clearly understood that "Society," in that sense of the word, is merely one of a hundred Rings, and snobbery therefore only one form of the longing to be inside.
People who believe themselves to be free, and indeed are free, from snobbery, and who read satires on snobbery with tranquil superiority, may be devoured by the desire in another form. It may be the very intensity of their desire to enter some quite different Ring which renders them immune from all the allurements of high life. An invitation from a duchess would be very cold comfort to a man smarting under the sense of exclusion from some artistic or communistic côterie. Poor manit is not large, lighted rooms, or champagne, or even scandals about peers and Cabinet Ministers that he wants: it is the sacred little attic or studio, the heads bent together, the fog of tobacco smoke, and the delicious knowledge that wewe four or five all huddled beside this stoveare the people who know.
Often the desire conceals itself so well that we hardly recognize the pleasures of fruition. Men tell not only their wives but themselves that it is a hardship to stay late at the office or the school on some bit of important extra work which they have been let in for because they and So-and-so and the two others are the only people left in the place who really know how things are run. But it is not quite true. It is a terrible bore, of course, when old Fatty Smithson draws you aside and whispers, "Look here, we've got to get you in on this examination somehow" or "Charles and I saw at once that you've got to be on this committee." A terrible bore; ah, but how much more terrible if you were left out! It is tiring and unhealthy to lose your Saturday afternoons: but to have them free because you don't matter, that is much worse.
Freud would say, no doubt, that the whole thing is a subterfuge of the sexual impulse. I wonder whether the shoe is not sometimes on the other foot. I wonder whether, in ages of promiscuity, many a virginity has not been lost less in obedience to Venus than in obedience to the lure of the caucus. For of course, when promiscuity is the fashion, the chaste are outsiders. They are ignorant of something that other people know. They are uninitiated. And as for lighter matters, the number of people who first smoked or first got drunk for a similar reason is probably very large.
I must now make a distinction. I am not going to say that the existence of Inner Rings is an Evil. It is certainly unavoidable. There must be confidential discussions: and it is not only a bad thing, it is (in itself) a good thing, that personal friendship should grow up between those who work together. And it is perhaps impossible that the official hierarchy of any organisation should coincide with its actual workings. If the wisest and most energetic people held the highest spots, it might coincide; since they often do not, there must be people in high positions who are really deadweights and people in lower positions who are more important than their rank and seniority would lead you to suppose. It is necessary: and perhaps it is not a necessary evil. But the desire which draws us into Inner Rings is another matter. A thing may be morally neutral and yet the desire for that thing may be dangerous. As Byron has said:
Sweet is a legacy, and passing sweet
The unexpected death of some old lady.
The painless death of a pious relative at an advanced age is not an evil. But an earnest desire for her death on the part of her heirs is not reckoned a proper feeling, and the law frowns on even the gentlest attempts to expedite her departure. Let Inner Rings be unavoidable and even an innocent feature of life, though certainly not a beautiful one: but what of our longing to enter them, our anguish when we are excluded, and the kind of pleasure we feel when we get in?
I have no right to make assumptions about the degree to which any of you may already be compromised. I must not assume that you have ever first neglected, and finally shaken off, friends whom you really loved and who might have lasted you a lifetime, in order to court the friendship of those who appeared to you more important, more esoteric. I must not ask whether you have derived actual pleasure from the loneliness and humiliation of the outsiders after you, yourself were in: whether you have talked to fellow members of the Ring in the presence of outsiders simply in order that the outsiders might envy: whether the means whereby, in your days of probation, you propitiated the Inner Ring, were always wholly admirable.
I will ask only one questionand it is, of course, a rhetorical question which expects no answer. In the whole of your life as you now remember it, has the desire to be on the right side of that invisible line ever prompted you to any act or word on which, in the cold small hours of a wakeful night, you can look back with satisfaction? If so, your case is more fortunate than most.
My main purpose in this address is simply to convince you that this desire is one of the great permanent mainsprings of human action. It is one of the factors which go to make up the world as we know itthis whole pell-mell of struggle, competition, confusion, graft, disappointment and advertisement, and if it is one of the permanent mainsprings then you may be quite sure of this. Unless you take measures to prevent it, this desire is going to be one of the chief motives of your life, from the first day on which you enter your profession until the day when you are too old to care. That will be the natural thingthe life that will come to you of its own accord. Any other kind of life, if you lead it, will be the result of conscious and continuous effort. If you do nothing about it, if you drift with the stream, you will in fact be an "inner ringer." I don't say you'll be a successful one; that's as may be. But whether by pining and moping outside Rings that you can never enter, or by passing triumphantly further and further inone way or the other you will be that kind of man.
I have already made it fairly clear that I think it better for you not to be that kind of man. But you may have an open mind on the question. I will therefore suggest two reasons for thinking as I do.
It would be polite and charitable, and in view of your age reasonable too, to suppose that none of you is yet a scoundrel. On the other hand, by the mere law of averages (I am saying nothing against free will) it is almost certain that at least two or three of you before you die will have become something very like scoundrels. There must be in this room the makings of at least that number of unscrupulous, treacherous, ruthless egotists. The choice is still before you: and I hope you will not take my hard words about your possible future characters as a token of disrespect to your present characters.
And the prophecy I make is this. To nine out of ten of you the choice which could lead to scoundrelism will come, when it does come, in no very dramatic colours. Obviously bad men, obviously threatening or bribing, will almost certainly not appear. Over a drink, or a cup of coffee, disguised as triviality and sandwiched between two jokes, from the lips of a man, or woman, whom you have recently been getting to know rather better and whom you hope to know better stilljust at the moment when you are most anxious not to appear crude, or a prigthe hint will come. It will be the hint of something which the public, the ignorant, romantic public, would never understand: something which even the outsiders in your own profession are apt to make a fuss about: but something, says your new friend, which "we"and at the word "we" you try not to blush for mere pleasuresomething "we always do."
And you will be drawn in, if you are drawn in, not by desire for gain or ease, but simply because at that moment, when the cup was so near your lips, you cannot bear to be thrust back again into the cold outer world. It would be so terrible to see the other man's facethat genial, confidential, delightfully sophisticated faceturn suddenly cold and contemptuous, to know that you had been tried for the Inner Ring and rejected. And then, if you are drawn in, next week it will be something a little further from the rules, and next year something further still, but all in the jolliest, friendliest spirit. It may end in a crash, a scandal, and penal servitude; it may end in millions, a peerage and giving the prizes at your old school. But you will be a scoundrel.
That is my first reason. Of all the passions, the passion for the Inner Ring is most skillful in making a man who is not yet a very bad man do very bad things.
My second reason is this. The torture allotted to the Danaids in the classical underworld, that of attempting to fill sieves with water, is the symbol not of one vice, but of all vices. It is the very mark of a perverse desire that it seeks what is not to be had. The desire to be inside the invisible line illustrates this rule. As long as you are governed by that desire you will never get what you want. You are trying to peel an onion: if you succeed there will be nothing left. Until you conquer the fear of being an outsider, an outsider you will remain.
This is surely very clear when you come to think of it. If you want to be made free of a certain circle for some wholesome reasonif, say, you want to join a musical society because you really like musicthen there is a possibility of satisfaction. You may find yourself playing in a quartet and you may enjoy it. But if all you want is to be in the know, your pleasure will be short lived. The circle cannot have from within the charm it had from outside. By the very act of admitting you it has lost its magic.
Once the first novelty is worn off, the members of this circle will be no more interesting than your old friends. Why should they be? You were not looking for virtue or kindness or loyalty or humour or learning or wit or any of the things that can really be enjoyed. You merely wanted to be "in" And that is a pleasure that cannot last. As soon as your new associates have been staled to you by custom, you will be looking for another Ring. The rainbow's end will still be ahead of you. The old ring will now be only the drab background for your endeavor to enter the new one.
And you will always find them hard to enter, for a reason you very well know. You yourself, once you are in, want to make it hard for the next entrant, just as those who are already in made it hard for you. Naturally. In any wholesome group of people which holds together for a good purpose, the exclusions are in a sense accidental. Three or four people who are together for the sake of some piece of work exclude others because there is work only for so many or because the others can't in fact do it. Your little musical group limits its numbers because the rooms they meet in are only so big. But your genuine Inner Ring exists for exclusion. There'd be no fun if there were no outsiders. The invisible line would have no meaning unless most people were on the wrong side of it. Exclusion is no accident; it is the essence.
The quest of the Inner Ring will break your hearts unless you break it. But if you break it, a surprising result will follow. If in your working hours you make the work your end, you will presently find yourself all unawares inside the only circle in your profession that really matters. You will be one of the sound craftsmen, and other sound craftsmen will know it. This group of craftsmen will by no means coincide with the Inner Ring or the Important People or the People in the Know. It will not shape that professional policy or work up that professional influence which fights for the profession as a whole against the public: nor will it lead to those periodic scandals and crises which the Inner Ring produces. But it will do those things which that profession exists to do and will in the long run be responsible for all the respect which that profession in fact enjoys and which the speeches and advertisements cannot maintain.
And if in your spare time you consort simply with the people you like, you will again find that you have come unawares to a real inside: that you are indeed snug and safe at the centre of something which, seen from without, would look exactly like an Inner Ring. But the difference is that the secrecy is accidental, and its exclusiveness a by-product, and no one was led thither by the lure of the esoteric: for it is only four or five people who like one another meeting to do things that they like. This is friendship. Aristotle placed it among the virtues. It causes perhaps half of all the happiness in the world, and no Inner Ring can ever have it.
We are told in Scripture that those who ask get. That is true, in senses I can't now explore. But in another sense there is much truth in the schoolboy's principle "them as asks shan't have." To a young person, just entering on adult life, the world seems full of "insides," full of delightful intimacies and confidentialities, and he desires to enter them. But if he follows that desire he will reach no "inside" that is worth reaching. The true road lies in quite another direction. It is like the house in Alice Through the Looking Glass.
* C. S. Lewis (1898-1963) was Professor of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University and a Fellow of Magdalene College, Cambridge. "The Inner Ring" was the Memorial Lecture at King's College, University of London, in 1944.
Ye shall be like God
The very first seduction of man into sin was a call to godhead, to climb into the ultimate Inner Ring:
Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
Eve ate the fruit and served it to her husband. The first sin was an act of feminine rebellion. When a man starts climbing beyond his calling by God and seeks the high place, he is following a feminist plan. This is not a nice thought, it is politically incorrect these days, but I am convinced that any man who knows his place and his calling, and accepts it in Christ, is a real man. A woman who knows here place before God, will submit to her husband, and in him she becomes a real lady. You will notice that Eve did not bother to ask Adam what he thought of the fruit eating trick. Only AFTER she had rebelled against God and her husband did Eve set out to corrupt her husband as well. Make no mistake, God held Adam responsible for both he and his wife in the thing.
1 Corinthians 15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
A climber is all too often yearning for a fallen female role-- power. This may also be why power hungry men are the most patient with sodomites. US President Bill Clinton was a man dominated by his wife. She fine tuned his persona for the world, and to the end of his life, though they did not live together, he ran back to her to absorb her feminist rebel mindset. I have seen many men in my days who were chasing power, and with few exceptions, they were all obviously NOT manly. They bought power or leveraged it by manipulating real men. I must also report that this is all too common in Bible believing churches. Some of you pastors strut around the platform like John Wayne, but when you get home, mama kicks your butt around the house and keep you on the invisible leash of her self-will.
Update: About ten years after I wrote the above first paragraphs in this Chapter it is 2018, and the USA and Europe are saturated culturally by bawdy power hungry women. Women are making a profession of getting raped or assaulted and destroying the man involved. These woman were almost all hustling a man to convince him to hire them or empower them. It is a game. It is now common to meet men who are terrified of woman so much that they have decided to totally avoid them. Eat the fruit that empowers, and then destroy the man. One is reminded of the female black widow spider who eats the male immediately after mating with him. It is amazing how often we see a copy of human depraved culture in some other species in nature.
All empires end in a struggle for the inner ring.
Alexander the Great, Caesar and Brutus, Napoleon, Chinese Communists.....
This is historic. Men who crave power soon learn that someone back down the order of the peck wants their place at the top. The cannibalism in large corporations is mindless and brutal, and it is the same in government. The sorry situation is that this pattern is all too common in Christendom, and I include the most Fundamental King James Bible only churches. I have received hundreds of sad email tales about such struggles in what used to be sound Bible centered churches.
The empire of Paul Crouch, Benny Hinn, Clearance Sexton, Beka Horton, and Robert Schuler, along with thousands of others, is a story of intrigue behind the scenes. When Jimmy Bakker fell and was put away for tax issues, there was a battle to grab the remains of the alleged ministry, and Jerry Falwell won and inherited Jimmy's empire. This is tantamount to one dog inheriting another dog's vomit.
Cain slew Abel because he didn't like Abel's doctrinal statement on worship. Sarah hated Hagar after Sarah herself suggested Abraham use Hagar to have a baby. Hagar then got excommunicated. Rachael and Leah and Jacob had a real time trying to get a family started over disagreement as to who should chair the church growth program. Joseph's brothers hated Joseph after Joseph revealed a revelation as to the brothers' destiny. Miriam and Aaron were chastened by God after the held a secret church business meeting and agreed that the pastor, Moses, had married a nigger instead of a Hebrew. God was not amused. Korah, Dathan, and Abiram got a quorum together and had a show down in the annual business meeting. God entered and adjourned the quorum to hell. Saul got a burr under his collar over the ministry of a young man who never did Saul any harm. God settled that one with the death of Saul. The princes of Babylon were deeply offended when Daniel had a cottage prayer meeting and faced Jerusalem instead of the Babylonian temple. And, the Pharisees and the High Priest decided a Rabbi in Galilee was just too likely to rise to the top of the Inner Ring of Judea, so they called 911 and convinced the Roman authorities to do away with the preacher.
Now, think about the above list of rogues. They ALL were either on their way to the top place of power, or they were there already, and they were terrified that someone who was serving God with a pure heart was actually and secretly seeking to take their seat of power.
Once you start up and into the Inner Ring, you will become more and more like the wicked above as you rise higher and higher. That is simply the nature of humanity. You will always be in fear that someone just like you, with the same perverted lust for power that you have, is about to grab your place in the order of the peck. Whether in a business, university, central government, or the Lord's Church, it is deadly, and it could get you in serious trouble with a holy God.
Proverbs 6:34 For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance.
Ecclesiastes 4:4 Again, I considered all travail, and every right work, that for this a man is envied of his neighbour. This is also vanity and vexation of spirit.
Judges 12:1 And the men of Ephraim gathered themselves together, and went northward, and said unto Jephthah, Wherefore passedst thou over to fight against the children of Ammon, and didst not call us to go with thee? we will burn thine house upon thee with fire.
James 3:13 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.
14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.
15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.
16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
The nature of the Inner Ring is that it creates conflict sooner or later. Why? Answer: The Inner Ring was NOT invented by God, and it is not found in the Apostolic instruction of the New Testament Church. It is purely the product of backsliding, and I do not give diddly how pious and spiritual your favorite guru is. He is in rebellion against God, and nothing good will come of your climbing up yonder to bask in the glory of his approval. One of the most pathetic things I have witnessed over my years is when men who had a fruitful God honoring life started climbing the ladder. Each rung up dries them out little by little until they are dull and dead in their soul.
Rings can actually drive you mad-- into an institution drooling on yourself.
Here is the proverbial "wandering Jew" trying to explain self-will as an honorable journey. He is almost humble and introspective, but can you see the arrogance and lust for power in him?
Adolph Hitler was an aspiring artist in Austria, but once he saw the possibility that he could sit with the elite in high places, he never looked back.
How do you think YOU can get away with just a small dose of lust for power. Like heroin, you will become hooked and waste a whole life time grabbing for the next wrung of the ladder.